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#BlackBerry10 Z10 Launch: The Day BlackBerry Made it’s Move

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You know, I haven’t been the nicest to BlackBerry and their dwindling fanbase in recent years. It eventually turned into kicking a dead horse at one point or stealing candy from children, which had been a sad state for Canada’s prized tech company.

In all honesty, I’m very far from being a brand whore; whether it be cell phones, clothing, or anything you can associate “lifestyle” to, I don’t like to invest my interests directly to a name or title. It’s a little too blind for my liking. But what I have done is put a lot of my energies towards focusing on function and appearance – a simple formula to separate the good and the ugly.

For instance, I’m a well known iPhone user, but the majority of my infatuation is attributed to great design, clear functionality, a variety of peripheral and app options, and most importantly: innovation. And while the iPhone experience is very much in-tune with tout ce qui précède, #5 just doesn’t have as much with what’s most important to me.

But hey, that doesn’t mean I’ll get rid of it. So stop asking me for it.

This morning was an early one: I arrived at the long awaited Toronto launch for the new BlackBerry 10 at the Carlu, bright and early at 8:30am. After checking-in into what reminded me of an airline counter at Pearsons (but with sexy Playbooks to tap on), I stepped into a breakfast carnival: rows of tasty morning niblets, big square box installations, beautiful tweet boards, cool backlit BlackBerry signs. Balls-out.

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Actually, the tweetboards were neat: Aside from the usual hashtagged tweets, BlackBerry had a few Promoted Tweets that included the use of a rating system, asking people on Twitter to give a #1stars rating to #5stars. The results were shown in graph form at the event. Love it.

Ran into Corey from The Cellular Guru, who showed me his latest addition to his site: Live Blog Pro. Allows people to see a live update of what’s happening directly onto his website. Had no idea this was made into plugins, but for my next informational event, I can see this being of some use for me. It’ll look splendid next to my new cityscape header.

I caught up with Lance Chung of Sharp Magazine (one of only three real social media guys dealing specifically in men’s style in Toronto) and Chad from TCHAD Quarterly and seated ourselves a few rows back from the main event.

Blackberry 10 Launch in Toronto

As a style dude, it’s very painful to be at these corporate-y things. Client partners and what seems to be all BlackBerry Enterprise users seem to dress in the same questionable attire. It’s just not me to avoid commenting about it: if design is supposed to take technology to the next level, then tech guys really need to give consideration on their appearance. You don’t live in your momma’s basement anymore. And that goes for the suits as well; it was like an army of tie-less,  frumpy suited dudes. But it’s not like the prized speakers were creating much inspiration (with the exception of Vivek).

Like I always do, I went on a tweet spree that morning and flooding my poor Facebook friends who don’t deal with the Ramone side of me all that much. Whatever, it’s sure more interesting than another album of baby pictures.

Based on my principles of interest, it didn’t take long for me to finalize my favouritism when they included many awesome features that focused on innovation. That included the concept of splitting work and personal with BlackBerry Balance, choosing your favourite photo in real-time with BlackBerry Camera Time Shift, and video chatting with screenshare on BBM – three of my favourite out-of-box features. While most of the features weren’t a total surprise that morning (I had went on a #BB10 OS preview a month previous), they did announce Alicia Keys as their new Global Creative Director.

Now, before anyone believes this too reminiscent of perfume and [insert cracked out celebrity here], it’s interesting to note how Keys will be integrating herself into many parts of the design and foundation of BlackBerry products. It remains to be seen however, if Creative Director is really just a fancy way of saying Brand Ambassador. We’ll see how this falls into place in the coming months.

Meeting up with Jay Strut and Lance, we lined up to get our very own BlackBerry Z10. After a brief sit down to get the thing up and running, we went for the step-and-repeat photoshoot with our new BlackBerrys, time shifting our photos to their optimal capabilities.

On Facebook, discussions were formulating in my comments, which I found very enlightening. My close friend and probably the biggest BlackBerry fan that you’ve never met but heard of, Curtis Priest, laid down the #realtalk about BlackBerry’s future with QNX. A few others included their astute opinions.

Blackberry Z10 Comments on Facebook

By the afternoon, I was back to work until the BlackBerry official partner event went live in the evening. I got scattered on Peroni and blackberry martinis, and eventually forced to watch Flo-Rida do his best LL Cool J impression (unsure if he was chosen to appeal to all the BBM kids, who weren’t present that evening. The crowd was great, better dressed than earlier if I may add, and in chatting with most attendees I met, everyone seemed quite alright with hopping (back) aboard the BlackBerry train. Signs of the times.

With the Z10 using a microsim and my iPhone 5 a nanosim, I went ahead and ordered a converter so I can go a full week back with BlackBerry (and subsequently away from Instagram for a week).

Keep an eye out for my BlackBerry Z10 research notes next week.

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